Winterkill is a general term for turf failure due to cold conditions. The extent to which your lawn has been damaged by winterkill largely depends on the type of grass you have. The age of the grass doesn’t really matter. Some lawns that were seeded last year are in turmoil. Others are doing fine. Last year we had abundant rain, meaning less sunshine overall. Since sunshine is necessary for grass to store the energy necessary to foster growth, the wet weather may be another reason why many grasses this spring seemed damaged.
Bermuda grass is a warm season grass. It normally does well on Georgia lawns, but we have noticed that this spring Bermuda has been slower to green up. Soil conditions stayed cold until late in the spring, and have only recently begun to foster Bermuda grass growth. Dr. James McCurdy, Extension Turf Specialist at Mississippi State University, has noted that “patience may be the key with Bermuda grass.” This season, avoid applying fertilizer to your Bermuda grass until it is about 90% green.
The state of Zoysia grass is similar to Bermuda. Most has survived the winter, but is slower to green up. Zoysia is a slow-growing grass to begin with, so this may take a while. Centipede grass and St. Augustine grass appear to have been damaged the most. Some lawns with these varieties may see growth at some point, but many will need reestablishment. A lawn of St. Augustine grass that has been weakened by cold weather is also susceptible to chinch bug infestation. Talk to us if you are experiencing problems with your warm weather grass lawn this season.
Fescue lawns were largely unaffected by this past winter, unsurprisingly, as Fescue typically flourishes in colder temperatures. But hot, dry summer conditions can be damaging. Now is the time to keep an eye on fescue health, and to supplement your turf with watering to ensure healthy growth.
So what should you do if you suspect your lawn has suffered from Winterkill? Advises Timothy Daly, a Gwinnett County Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Agent “proper maintenance…during the growing season, such as adequate water, fertilizer, correct mowing, and pest control, will keep the turfgrass healthy and it will be more resistant to cold damage.” Contact us today to find out what special care your lawn may need to recover from this past winter.